Seminary at Laurier appoints founding member of Kijiji Canada

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Waterloo Lutheran Seminary has officially welcomed a new face to their Delton Glebe Counselling Centre.

Eric Pierni, one of the founding members of Kijiji Canada, has been appointed as the Seminary’s institutional advancement manager and executive director of the Glebe Centre.

“[Pierni] not only brings technical skills, he brings excellent interpersonal skills and excellent institutional advancement skills with it,” said the seminary’s principal-dean, Reverend Mark Harris.

“We are really quite delighted he’s been willing to accept this position.”

According to Harris, Pierni brings a unique set of business acumen along with his experience as a student in the Seminary’s master’s of spiritual care and psychotherapy program.

“He provides that leadership with a really intimate understanding of the nature of the services that are provided through the program.”

The Delton Glebe Counselling Centre, a multi-faith counselling centre committed to strengthening emotional and spiritual well-being in the Waterloo Region, already has close to 200 clients since opening their doors in 2013.

“The Glebe Centre has grown tremendously, we’re covering close to now 200 clients, which for maybe other centres that might not be a lot, but for us we’re fairly young,” said Pierni.

Pierni stressed that the centre is open to clients who may or may not carry spiritual beliefs.

“Even here as a counselling centre we’re open to questions of spirituality and faith but we would never define it.”

In his new position, Pierni hopes to address the issue of men’s mental health and find ways to break the stigma around it.

According to Pierni, 80 to 90 per cent of the women who call the centre request help from a female therapist.

Male therapists usually aren’t available to men who request one to talk to.

“I’m not negating the work that women do with men, what I’m saying is that there’s a bigger problem in terms of we need more male therapists to help other men,” Pierni continued.

“When we look at the Wellness Centre [at Wilfrid Laurier University], which we work closely with, right now there aren’t any male therapists there, at least not six months ago — think about what would happen if it were the other way.”

Pierni hopes to bring more male therapists to the centre, as well to other counselling services, in order to make mental health more accessible for men, particularly men on the Laurier campus.

“I see all these young men on campus, it’s maybe 35 to 40 per cent of the population, and I know if they were anything like me they’re in a lot of pain, but who’s going to help them?”

Overall, Pierni noted the skills he brings from Kijiji Canada, such as business management and marketing and strategy, will help him in his new position as executive director at the centre.

“Everything I learned to go through that growth is stuff that I’m bringing here, but now the other aspect that I’m bringing is in addition to my passion for psychology and theology is my training.”

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